Friday, January 25, 2013

Celtics Hawk Up 27-Point Lead, Lose In 2-OT: 111-123

Twenty-seven-point lead? Check.

Second triple-double for Rajon Rondo in as many nights? Check.

Winning the battle-of-the-benches by a country mile? Check.

Staying virtually even on the boards, shooting 100% at the line and outshooting your opponent from the field? Check, check and check.

Capitalizing on all of these advantages to come out of Atlanta with the win? Weeeeellllll....

On a night when all of these things did, in fact happen, the Celtics somehow found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a completely new way. Surprising just about everyone with their absolute dominance of the 24-18 Atlanta Hawks, who came out paper-flat to start the first half of the game, the Celtics ran out to a 27-point lead in the 2nd quarter and managed to hold off a small rally to enter the half up 19.

Jeff Green was a major factor (bet you didn't see THOSE words coming!) in this game scoring 17 points and netting 6 rebounds, and he was joined by a much-improved Courtney Lee with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. With an additional 12 points from Jason Terry, the Celtics bench completely buried the Hawk's reserves by a count of 45 to 21.

It's almost becoming routine to talk about Rondo achieving yet another triple-double, but the fact is that Rondo's performance this year has been staggering. Recording his fifth 3-D of the season -- the most of any player League-wide -- Rondo has continued to stake his claim as the premier point guard in the game. Starter Kevin Garnett was exceptional with 24 points and 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal, and while Paul Pierce's epic shooting slump continued with The Captain shooting 4-13 for 12 points, he was able to reel in 6 rebounds and dish 4 assists.

So how in the name of Big Bird could the Celtics lose this one? Two words: Ashton Kutcher Kyle Korver.

Korver had a career night, scoring a season high 27 points mostly from a Hawk-record 8 second-half 3-pointers. He was backed up by five other teammates, who scored in double figures including Al Horford (24 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals); Jeff Teague (23 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds 3 steals); Josh Smith (17 points,14 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks); Devin Harris with 14; and Ivan Johnson with 11 points.

Oh, and the Celtics' 21 turnovers (6 from Rondo and 5 from Pierce) to the Hawks' 12 didn't help matters much.

Once again...the Celtics showed flashes of what could be, followed -- unfortunately -- by player and fan alike left dreaming about what might have been.

Broken record here, folks, but consistency is the issue and discipline is the only way that these C's are going to get the job done. I still believe it can and will happen -- I just hope that it's before they lock up the race for the 9th spot in the Playoffs.

Heat on Sunday. The Return of Ray-Ray. Impeccable timing.  Yay.

Box Score

Tale Of The Tape

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